drinking too much


New research says you can trick your brain into responding to the intake of nicotine if you were told that the cigarette you were smoking was nicotine free.

Understanding the placebo effect is the basis for this study. But does that concept work at the same level when an addictive substance is introduced into the person’s system when they believed is wasn’t? The answer, according to this research, is a surprising yes.

Xiaosi Gu, PhD and associate professor at University of Texas at Dallas published a report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that shows for addictive drugs to have an effect on you, you need to believe that they are going to have that effect. The study was based on this question: In terms of drug abuse, or substance abuse disorder, how much does belief influence the brain’s response to a neuroactive drug?

“This work illuminates the mechanisms whereby belief can influence nonconscious learned association…” The director of National Institute on Drug Abuse, Nora Volkow, PhD

So if the brain is that suggestible to the point the addictive substance that normally creates a response in the brain does not because of a belief; then it is also possible to create a belief that the person has no desire for the substance in the first place? I think that depends on the motivation.

As a hypnotist, I appreciate the report because it shows the power of belief on responses, however it overlooks a few major considerations, mainly motivation.

  1. The person was not asked to give up smoking, only to participate in a study, not much is on the line and therefore the lack of motivation (or skin the game) may have driven the response.
  2. In a clinical environment subjects tend to have a stronger level of suggestibility due to the perceived authority of the person conducting the test, this influences responses.

Clients at our hypnosis center who have a desire to stop smoking or drinking too much alcohol can do so if the motivation is high, a 7 or higher on the 0-10 scale. Motivation and desire drives a new response. And along with that the belief that they can enjoy life more without those addictive substances is another strong component.

There are six elements required for personal permanent behavior change is at the top of that list are one’s DESIRE AND BELIEF. The others are Self Talk, Association/Identification, Future Memories and Self Sabotage.

So if you have failed in the past and wondering why, this is your answer:

Your subconscious mind was not set up to carry out your conscious mind’s intent due to desire/motivation and your belief.

And now with research that proves what hypnotists have long known, your belief lined up with the proper motivation influences the response or behavior, even the behavior of not smoking.


Valerie A. Grimes is a clinical hypnotist assisting individuals in achieving an optimum level of support through positive thinking and by teaching new habits and forming new beliefs available through the process of hypnosis.


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